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Indian variant cases on the rise in St Helens Borough

Article date - 27 May 2021

With Indian variant cases of Covid-19 rising across St Helens Borough people are asked to take precautions, get tested and attend for vaccinations when invited.
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The 22 cases of Indian variant have been found in pockets across the borough but Newton-le-Willows, Earlestown and Haydock have seen the highest number of cases. 

With the Bank Holiday weekend coming and with many events taking place this weekend it is important that people continue to take precautions against catching or spreading Covid-19 to others. 

Director of Public Health at St Helens Borough Council Ruth du Plessis said: “While we have relatively few cases of Covid-19 we are now seeing that the Indian variant is now edging towards being our predominant strain. We have been conducting enhanced test and trace measures on those cases and while these cases are mostly linked to outbreaks in the Greater Manchester area we still have to be vigilant to the risks of community spread. 

“The Indian variant appears to spread easily and we’ve seen households of positive cases also affected. That is why it’s really important that everyone carries out regular twice weekly symptom free testing to help us find and isolate cases and their contacts quickly. It’s also really important if you are attending any events to make sure you take a symptom free test in the 24 hours before you plan to attend so that we can try to minimise the risk of spread at large gatherings. 

“The vaccination programme is going well. Being vaccinated reduces the risk of serious illness from covid-19 by around 80 per cent and is thought to reduce the risk of passing Covid-19 on to others by half but it does not stop transmission altogether. So it’s important that even if you have been vaccinated you continue to test regularly as we know many people still do not display any symptoms but can pass it on to others.” 

Councillor Anthony Burns, Cabinet Member for Wellbeing, Culture and Heritage, added: “With many people working, going to school and socialising across our borough boundaries we would encourage people who may be travelling around the area to continue to follow the rules on social distancing. 

“We have managed to get our rates down to low levels our rates are creeping back up again and now we want to keep them there so that we can continue to enjoy the things we’ve all been getting back to like seeing friends, going to the rugby or the races and supporting businesses who have been so hard hit this last year. It is also important to recognise that Covid-19 is still very serious for some and we’ve seen in other areas with higher cases they are now starting to see a rise in hospitalisations, and we want to make sure that our communities do not have to experience the pain that many families have endured in the last year.” 

St Helens Borough Council’s mobile symptom free testing unit will be at Earlestown Market this Friday and Saturday from 8:30am to 2:30pm where you can either get a test or take away test packs to do at home. 

The team will also be handing out test packs to spectators at the Saints match again this Friday night and at Haydock Park Racecourse on Friday and Saturday so that those who attended can test themselves two and five days after the events. 

You can book a test if you have symptoms at Haydock Park Racecourse or at the Local Testing Station at Fairclough Street Car Park, in Earlestown which are open seven days a week between 8am and 1:30pm online at www.gov.uk/coronavirus or call NHS 119

To find out more about getting symptom free tests or to book a test if you have symptoms visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/letsgettested.